Favourite tulips 2022

As usual, tulips which I grow mainly in pots, were a mixed bag. I had had visions when ordering bulbs the previous autumn, of peony-flowered tulips looking glamorous and frou-frou. In reality, some failed to do very much at all, which I put down perhaps to cheap bulbs, as I went to some different suppliers to last year. ‘Shirley Double‘ and ‘Silk Road‘ definitely disappointed.

The rather lovely ‘Abu Hassan’, seemed to have been substituted with the less refined ‘Gavota’, which was rather naughty of the bulb supplier. It would appear from Twitter that others too found the same when it came to flowering this year.

My favourites

Tulip Orca early flowering orange double
Tulip ‘Orca’ (Reus 2003)

Orca‘. What a cheerful earlier flowering tulip, and like many doubles, long-lasting. Very lightly scented.

Tulip 'Amazing Grace' a copper and pink double
Tulip ‘Amazing Grace’ (2015)

Amazing Grace‘. This is another earlier flowering double, the image shows the flower as it is ageing, losing some of the coppery tint in the petals and becoming paler pink. I should not have had it growing in the same container as ‘Orca’, the colours didn’t quite complement each other.

Oldies but goodies

I have a soft spot for some of the older tulips, a number of which are finding their way into commerce from the Hortus Bulborum in the Netherlands. Others have remained in general commerce.

Tulip 'Bleu Aimable'
Tulip ‘Bleu Aimable’ (Krelage 1916)
'Bleu Aimable' showing inner blue base to petals
Tulip ‘Bleu Aimable’, open, showing its blue base (copper coloured ‘Dom Pedro’ in the background)
Tulip ‘Madras’ (1913)

Madras‘. An unusual ginger colour, similar to the more modern ‘Cairo’.

Rembrandt tulip 'Saskia'
Tulip ‘Saskia’ (1958)

Saskia‘. This tulip is more ‘marmite’, love or hate. A Dutch Rembrandt tulip with echoes of the tulips going way back to the days of tulip mania in the 17th Century. It doesn’t have the delicacy and form of the Old English tulips, but it certainly has a presence!

Tulip 'Couleur Cardinal'
Tulip ‘Couleur Cardinal’ (1845)

Couleur Cardinal‘. This stocky tulip is still widely available. In real life the colour is richer, more luscious. Just think, people have been admiring this in their gardens for nearly 180 years. It has also given rise to sports such as ‘Rococo‘ (1942), (I wish this parrot tulip was a little taller), and orange ‘Prinses Irene‘ (1949).